Inside HOKIE SPORTS | Vol. 14 No. 5 | April 2022

Dear Hokie Nation, I hope you enjoyed the exciting close to the winter sports season and are looking forward to an action packed spring of Hokie sports. We made big strides as a department to start 2022, and I’m proud of the work our student-athletes, coaches, and staff put in to make those strides possible. Thank you very much for the role your support played in our collective success. I’d be remiss if I did not take this time to congratulate some of our winter programs on their successes in the final months of the season. Lindsey Butler and Rachel Baxter brought home the gold at the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships in the 800m and the pole vault, respectively. Track & Field clinched both the men’s and women’s ACC Indoor Championships in Blacksburg, which is another triumphant chapter in the storied career of head coach Dave Cianelli. On the mat, Virginia Tech Wrestling succeeded as well with an 8th place finish in the NCAA Championships. Mekhi Lewis’ return to the national final serves as an inspiration to Tech fans everywhere, and Tony Robie has done such a great job constructing a winning identity for this program. This basketball season was such a memorable stretch for both of our programs. Our women’s basketball team won more ACC games than any other team in program history and attracted a new generation of fans to the sport in Blacksburg. Elizabeth Kitley became the first Hokie to be named ACC Player of the Year, which is such an impressive feat, especially when you consider she also presented such a strong academic record to be named the ACC Scholar-Athlete of the Year as well. On the men’s side, our Hokies captured the attention of the sports world with such an emotional and enthralling run to the program’s first ACC Championship. The entire team stepped up throughout a dramatic four game stretch, and it was so cathartic to see our student-athletes and staff cut down the nets in Brooklyn. In addition to the team’s success, Justyn Mutts was awarded ACC Scholar-Athlete of the Year, completing Virginia Tech Basketball’s sweep of the award. Mike Young and Kenny Brooks are wonderful at leading their programs, and I’m so optimistic about the potential they have to succeed in the future. Coach Sergio Lopez Miro’s men’s and women’s swimming and diving programs also represented our school well to close out the winter sports season. The women’s team finished No. 23 in the nation, with Emma Atkinson earning All-American honors in the 200 back. Youssef Ramadan and Carles Coll Marti earned All-American finishes in two events each, and the team tied it’s best ever finish at No.11 in the NCAA Championships. As spring fully comes into bloom in Blacksburg, we turn our attention to our spring sports seasons that continue to heat up. English Field at Atlantic Union Bank Park is a beautiful place to take in a baseball game, so we encourage you to take in a ballgame whenever you get the chance to see John Szefc and his program. The same can be said for Tech Softball Park as well. Head coach Pete D’Amour has done such a masterful job at making his team an ACC and national contender. The softball program reached as high as a No.1 ranking in RPI this season, and the team’s No.5 overall ranking is the highest in program history. Hokie fans should back this program fully as the season comes to a close. Virginia Tech Lacrosse also has some challenging games coming up in their ACC slate, but we have a ton of faith in Kristen Skiera and the bounds she’s made in her first year heading the program, with ranked wins over JMU and Notre Dame. On the links, Women’s Golf has made an impression on the national scene. Emily Mahar earned an invitation to compete in the 2022 Augusta National Women’s Amateur. We are overjoyed and proud to have someone representing Virginia Tech on the most storied golf course in the country. It has been so impressive to see how so many passionate members of Hokie Nation have bought into our vision to shift Virginia Tech from a challenger to a champion brand in collegiate athletics. After ambitiously setting our Drive for 25 goal in 2016, we were able to surpass the 25,000 donor threshold confidently in 2022. This year has been such a record-breaking year in terms of fundraising for Virginia Tech Athletics, and I cannot thank you all enough for continued support of Hokie student-athletes. We have momentum now, and we need to keep pushing to maintain our current impressive trajectory. Thank you for being a part of the best fanbase in all of sports. We hope you enjoy a happy and safe spring with you and your loved ones. Go Hokies! Whit Babcock Director of Athletics 2 A WORD FROM WHIT